The other day I attempted to squeeze in a quick run on the treadmill with my 3 year old in tow. I rarely give her the chance to use the iPad, but I was feeling a little desperate. I opened up one of the drawing apps and sat her down in the corner as I started my warm up. She stuck with the app for a bit but quickly began to meander throughout the IPAD, opening up app after app. In this circumstance, my only "learning objective" for her would be sustained distraction so that I could continue on my run.
Yet it did cause me to ponder the idea of being able to "lock down" or limit a student to a given app. In our classroom, the students use the iPads in a pretty structured and supervised way. They are told to use a specific app for a period of time. We have not had a trouble with students wandering off to explore the other reaches of the iPad.
I can however, see that there would be a certain advantage to being able to restrict a student to a given app or perhaps a range of like apps-just like you would restrict/limit internet searches to particular sites or content. Maybe it is as simple as creating a folder for related apps and having the ability to limit navigation to that single folder-say, group all your number recognition and counting apps. Of course one could always "enforce" the desired range but there are times when complete supervision is more challenging and kids are quick and apt to wander...call it a fail-safe option!
On a related note, it would be helpful to have some sort of way to keep track of the apps that our students use, how long they used a particular app, and how many attempts were made to complete a given task. Certainly we could go low tech and create some sort of checklist that we could attach to a clipboard but...
Perhaps some sort of interface that students would be required to log in/out of- why not!